[:en]A large group of Azerbaijani public representatives issued a statement expressing concern over the deprivation of the Popular Front Party leader Ali Karimli from the Internet on April 13.
While the world is fighting a coronavirus pandemic, Azerbaijan is mentioned in the world media as a country where the epidemic is used to repress government critics, the statement said.
With the start of the fight against coronavirus infection, about 20 political activists were arrested in Azerbaijan, including opposition politician Tofig Yagublu.
A new wave of repression began after the speech of Ilham Aliyev on March 19, 2020 and intensified after his next speech on April 14.
“Unfortunately, in these speeches the president talked about the opposition camp, using such epithets as “enemies” and “5th column”, emphasized the need to isolate them. In his speeches, the president made clear that he had in mind the National Council and the Popular Front Party,” the statement said.
Depriving Karimli of access to the Internet also has a humanitarian component. He cannot communicate with his children who are currently abroad.
In addition, the deprivation of Karimli’s Internet and mobile communications created serious difficulties for his family during the quarantine period.
In Azerbaijan, freedom of expression and the press, assembly is already restricted, more than 130 political prisoners in the country, torture of prisoners is widespread.
The blockade of Karimli could be a bad precedent for restricting Internet freedom in the future.
The authors urge the authorities to restore urgently the Internet and mobile communication Karimli. They also call on the international community to be more attentive to what is happening in Azerbaijan and to help the people of the country in the implementation of fundamental freedoms.
The statement was signed by several dozen people, including well-known politicians, experts, journalists, cultural figures, lawyers.